Cheshire Scouts Case Study Virtual Balloon Race December 2014
Overview

Cheshire Scouts have just grossed £25,389 by running a virtual, 100% eco-friendly balloon race. The race was also used to explain to Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts the issues surrounding real balloons and their potential to kill animals and birds when they land back on the ground.

Organised by County Commissioner, Graham Phillips, the Rentaballoonrace.com system was programmed to launch from London Eye on Saturday 6th December. Lasting a full seven days, all competitors were encouraged to consider the likely or predicted race weather before altering the three key parameters of their virtual or simulated balloon. If the race was to run into bad, stormy weather, then clearly maximising helium would make the balloon muchmore susceptible to bursting.

A whopping 8,463 balloons took part in the Cheshire scouts race with just three bursting within the first 24 hours. A fairly brisk ten knot prevailing South Westerly airstream took racers north eastwards towards Norway and interestingly eighty per cent of all balloons were still flying after Day Four. All three winning balloons were just off the North Norwegian coast at Trondheim when the race finished.

Cheshire Scouts decided that the majority of the profit should stay with those local Groups who had actually sold the balloon tickets. Basically, the groups kept 64% of monies received, the profit from each £3 balloon sale price being distributed as detailed below.

To Groups £1.90 of every sale within the group.

To Districts £0.40 of every sale within the district.

To County £0.10 of all sales.

Operating costs approximately 60p or 20% of sale price.

Race Financials (£)
Gross revenue25,389.00
Operating costs6,577.15
Net profit18,811.85
Groups profit16,079.70
District profit3,385.20
County profit-653.05

The small loss at county level was attributed to a lack of prize sponsorships, an issue that will be resolved for the next Cheshire County race in December 2015.

Innovative changes for 2015 races
A. New balloon card design

With a prompt from Graham, we have now developed a DL size (1/3 A4) raffle ticket style card using 135gsm heavyweight gloss paper.

They will come in pads of 100 and have 2 perforations. The GSL writes the scouts name, Jonny Smith for example, in the left hand section and tears off 10 tickets, say. He then writes the name of the next scout and tears them off 10 tickets say. And so on and so on. The benefits of the new system are:-

Removes the financial risk to Scout Groups

The new system will make it easier to account for sales because Scouts will return the ticket stubs they have sold with their money. Only these tickets will be validated to take part in the race

Simple and Quick to Administer

The new raffle style cards are gummed along the left edge, so a GSL distributing 10 cards each to 40 scouts should take around 10 minutes. There will be a printed sheet available to download to help summarise who has had what.

B. Increased lead and planning time

The County Commissioner will now give a minimum of 6 months’ notice of the planned race event and it will become an integral part of the fund raising calendar, just like the bedding plants sales initiative undertaken by many GSLs.

C. Mulit-media package available

The request by many GSLs for downloadable posters (A3 and A4) to stick up in scout huts or be used as flyers is to be actioned. The Cheshire County email advert with embedded video and PDFs for maximum online distribution by all scouts will be more routinely used. Finally, online banners will be produced for those districts and groups who wish to advertise the race on their own websites.